On Wednesday, June 20th, the New York City Council will be hosting its annual LGBT Pride celebration at the council chambers. It's the second year in which the proceedings will be overseen by City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, the first gay person (or woman) to hold the seat.
Christine, a former dynamo LGBT rights activist turned political maverick, has quickly ascended in the local political ranks and has long been rumored to be mulling a run for the Mayor's Office in 2009 after current Mayor Michael Bloomberg is set to leave office due to term limits.
A cover page profile and interview in Thursday's Gay City News gives an overview of some of Christine's major accomplishments as Council Speaker and also gives voice to some people in the community who express dismay at some of the compromises she has made for what they argue is political expediency. But reporter and GCN Editor-in-Chief Paul Schindler does a good job in distilling the realities of political activism vs. the political process and comes out with a fairly balanced and ultimately glowing profile.
I too have been critical of Christine in the past, particularly of her alliance with some of the least progressive Democratic party leaders in Queens, but as Council Speaker she has been pretty tremendous, including her latest effort to push campaign finance reform that would reduce the influence of business interests in city races.
A day before the Council pride celebration, on June 19th, I will be joining well over 100 of the city's LGBT leaders in hosting a fundraiser for Christine with tickets ranging from $35 to $100 for those of you who might want to join us.
Although host committee members are listed in their individual capacity, they include a diverse array of community leaders including Michael Adams, ED of Services and Advocacy for LGBT Elders (SAGE); Richard Burns, ED at the LGBT Community Center; Gerard Cabrera of the Out People of Color Political Action Club (OutPOCPAC); Daryl Cochrane of the Human Rights Campaign and GMHC; transgender advocate Carrie Davis; Latino Commission on AIDS ED Dennis deLeon; NYS Senator Thomas K. Duane; People of Color in Crisis ED Gary English; National Gay and Lesbian Task Force ED Matt Foreman; Assemblywoman Deborah Glick; Councilmember Rosie Mendez; Gay City News columnist and Brooklyn's Lambda Independent Democrats' Christopher Murray; ACT UP member and Gay USA co-host Ann Northrop; Assemblymember Daniel J. O'Donnell; Gay Men of African Descent ED Tokes Osubu; Lambda Independent Democrats' Gary Parker; New York City Anti-Violence Project ED Clarence Patton; Gay Officers Action League's Vivian Rodriguez; Stonewall Democrats of New York Tom Schuler; Queens Public Library's James Van Bramer; Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS' Tom Viola; Stonewall Democrats of New York's Jon Winkleman; Freedom to Marry's Evan Wolfson; and actor BD Wong, among many others.
It's actually a pretty impressive list and shows that, well ahead of a possible 2009 mayoral run, the Speaker enjoys wide support from the New York City LGBT political establishment should she chose to make a run for it.
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